Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) (Intro) : 32 Nature Mystic Chapters :
gender-inclusive translations, citations from commentary, seal scripts :

01, 04, 06, 07, 08    09, 10, 11, 15, 21, 22, 23    26, 28, 29, 32, 35,
40, 43, 45, 47    48, 49, 51, 52, 56, 63, 67    70, 73, 77, 79.
Hymning the Tao Te Ching
(Literal 81 Chapter Chinese-English Study Version)
Hyperlinked Bibliography: Women Authors on the Tao Te Ching
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Tao Te Ching: Chapter 51
translated by Stephen Mitchell (1988)

Every being in the universe
is an expression of the Tao.
It springs into existence,
unconscious, perfect, free, [*]
takes on a physical body,
lets circumstances complete it.
That is why every being
spontaneously honors the Tao.

The Tao gives birth to all beings,
nourishes them, maintains them,
cares for them, comforts them,
protects them,
takes them back to itself,
creating without possessing,
acting without expecting,
guiding without interfering. [**]
That is why love of the Tao
is in the very nature of things.

"Unlike Confucian embrace of the past
through the repetitive performance of traditional
acts, the Daodejing offers play and difference."
[**] HO-SHANG-KUNG [an ancient commentator] says:
"Tao induces everything to become perfect
according to its own nature."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 51
translated by Red Pine (1996)

The Way begets them
Virtue keeps them
matter shapes them
usage completes them
thus do all things honor the Way
and glorify Virtue
the honor of the Way
the glory of Virtue
are not conferred
but always so
the Way begets and keeps them
cultivates and trains them
steadies and adjusts them
nurtures and protects them
but begets without possessing
acts without presuming
and cultivates without controlling [*]
this is called Dark Virtue.

[*] ELLEN M. CHEN says:
"When things follow tao and te, they follow the
freedom and spontaneity of their own natures,
'not by command, but by nature.'
Te is the specific inborn nature in each thing."

Chinese Character for Respect, Zun
Pictograph = Hand offering wine.
"All things respect Tao and value virtue."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 51
translated by Kari Hohne (2009)

The way gives them life,
virtue raises them.
Things give them shape
and circumstances bring them to maturity.

Therefore all things respect Tao and value virtue.
They rely on Tao to develop virtue,
not because it is decreed.
They know that it is natural
that they should be cared for.

Thus the way gives them life,
virtue raises them.
Circumstances nourish them;
Tao protects them and brings them to maturity.

It gives them life
but does not possess them;
Benefits them without seeking gratitude.
Guides them, but does not rule over them.

This is called Mysterious Virtue.


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 51
translated by Ursula K. Le Guin (1998)

The Way bears them;
power nurtures them;
their own being shapes them;
their own energy completes them.
And not one of the ten thousand things
fails to hold the Way sacred
or to obey its power.

Their reverence for the Way
and obedience to its power
are unforced and always natural.
For the Way gives them life;
its power nourishes them,
mothers and feeds them,
completes and matures them,
looks after them, protects them.

To have without possessing,
do without claiming,
lead without controlling;
this is mysterious power. [*]

[*] ELLEN M. CHEN says:
"Tao and te are powerful not because they dominate
the beings they have produced and nurtured, but
because having produced and nurtured them,
they make no demands on them."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 51
translated by Isabella Mears (1922)

Tao gives Life to all beings.
Te nourishes them.
It gives to each being its form,
It gives the inward urge towards perfectness.

That is why there is no living creature
      that does not reverence Tao
      and honor Te.

The veneration of Tao! The honor of Te!
No Master has decreed it,
But eternally it affirms the Self.

Therefore Tao gives Life to all beings,
It nourishes and makes them grow,
It rears them and perfects them,
It sustains, feeds, and protects them.

It gives them Life, but does not possess them.
It gives them activity, but does not depend on them.
It urges them to grow, but does not rule them.
This is called profound Te.


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 51
translated by Walter Gorn Old (1904)

Tao brings forth and Teh nourishes.

All things take up their several forms, and natural forces
bring them to perfection.

Therefore all things conspire to exalt Tao and to cherish virtue.
But this regard of Tao and Teh is not in deference to any mandate.

(1) tao (2) the same (3) honored
(4) virtue (te) (5) the same (6) esteemed
(7) those in authority (8) none (9) the same (10) can decree it
(11) but (12) commonly (13) each of itself (14) naturally so [*]

It is unconstrained, and therefore it endures forever.

For Tao produces all things, and Teh nourishes, increases, feeds,
matures, protects, and watches over them.

To produce without possessing; to work without expecting; to enlarge
without usurping; this is the absolute virtue!

[*] KARYN LAI [philosopher] says:
"In relational interaction, a regard for spontaneity by both parties allows for mutual
transformation and genuine engagement. In philosophical terms, ziran (自然) is an
ontological condition of individuals that requires the ethical response of non-coercion."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 51
translated by John Chalmers (1868)

Tao produces and Virtue nourishes;
everything takes form and      
the forces bring to perfection.      

Therefore everything agrees in honoring
Tao and exalting Virtue.     

And this honoring of Tao and exalting of
Virtue is not the result of any      
command, but is spontaneous forever.     

For Tao produces, (Virtue) nourishes,
enlarges, feeds, completes, ripens,      
cherishes and covers all things.     

To produce and not possess —
to act and not expect —      
to enlarge and not control —      
this is called sublime Virtue.      


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 51
translated by Chao-Hsiu Chen (2004)

The Tao creates.

The virtue nourishes.

The things form.

The environment shapes them to completion.

That is why the myriad creatures all respect
      the Tao, and value virtue.
When the Tao is respected, virtue is valued.
No one can command them but the Tao.

That is why the Tao creates myriad creatures.
Virtue nourishes them, cultivates them,
      educates them, completes them, ripens
      them, supports them, carries them.

The Tao creates them without possessing them,
      benefits them without profiting from them,
      guides them without commanding them.

That is what profound virtue means.


Daodejing / Tao Te Ching / Chapter Fifty-One in Seal Script
(Zhuanshu 篆文, with Wang Pi / Wang Bi Version)
Chinese Character for Depend, Shi
LEAN ON (恃 = Shi)
Pictograph = Heart with court / temple.
"To govern without leaning on."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 51
translated by Richard Gotshalk (2007)

Way gives birth to them,
and through her power rears them;
shaping them through matter.
She brings them to completion through
her own vital energies. [*]

Because of this, the ten thousand things revere Way
and honor her power; as for this revering and honoring
of Way and her power, it is true, no one ever officially
commanded this, still it is ever so out of the very
selfhood of things.

Way gives birth to them,
raises and nurtures them,
completes and ripens them,
supports and covers them.
To give birth to yet lay no possessive claims upon,
to raise without exerting dominion over,
to govern without leaning on:
this is to be called her mysterious power.

"The beginning expresses, in a more complex and awkward way,
what is expressed in simple fashion at the beginning of core
Chapter 21, that the manifestations of her great
power follow from Way alone."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 51
translated by Yi Wu (1989)

The Way brings them forth,
Virtue nurtures them,
Matter shapes them,
Environment forms them.

Therefore, all things without exception
venerate the Way and value virtue.

The Way's venerability and virtue's value
are that they do not command
but constantly are natural.

Therefore, the Way brings them forth,
Virtue nurtures them,
Grows them and rears them,
Matures them and ripens them,
Nourishes them and shelters them.

Producing without possessing,
Acting without taking credit,
Growing without controlling, —
This is called mystical virtue.


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 51
translated by Ralph Alan Dale (2006)

All in the universe
derive from the Primal Integrity.
The interaction of yin and yang
shapes and nourishes them,
and evolution ever transforms them
in their endless ecological dance.

Therefore, in its own way,
every entity celebrates its Primal Mother.
Not out of any mandate.
Not out of any obligation.
But solely as the expression
of its own integrity.


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